Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Bennyness of Benson

Benson is so cool in his doggles and he loves to wear them when he goes walking or riding because he adores the attention that he gets, what a big ham!
Yesterday when the bagger was loading the groceries into the truck she said "what a great dog, I have a yellow lab and a chocolate lab" and so Benson gave her a polite kiss on the nose. What a lover!

On a sadder note in the animinal kingdom I have been watching through the binoculars a loon on my lake that must have been left behind for some reason when mom pop and sister went South. The lake is gradually freezing. The thin ice is covering the lake from the outside to the center and the loon is being encroached upon and does not fly away. There is not a damn thing I can do for the loon or for that matter should do. Life in Alaska can be harsh.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gothic me for Halloween

Yes, I'm going to be GOTH for Halloween how exquisitely sublime.

  • A goth unashamedly celebrates the dark places of the human psyche, dark sensuality sweeping saddness, morbid fascination, forbidden love, the beauty of enduring pain.

  1. Age: None. Goths are timeless. ;-)
  2. Behaviour: broody, dramatic, sensual, given to excessive romanticism
  3. Climate: cool, damp, and dark.
  4. Diet: hors d'oeuvres, cigarettes
  5. Intelligence: strangely above average
  6. Favourite Colour: black
  7. Literature: 19th century romance and horror, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman
  8. Major: Humanities: art, literature, psychology, etc.
  9. Music: gothic I LOVE the Transiberian Orchestra (does that count?)
  10. Natural Habitat: cemetaries, cafés, bookstores, libraries, laboratories, the internet, and the incredibly dark and evil gothic nightclub (spooky spooky) Tourists beware!
  11. Natural Range: Northern Europe and English-speaking countries. England and Germany are the two cultural focii.
  12. Occupation: artist, computer-related, literature-related, student, clerk
    Race: any (but being pale is a big plus)
  13. Religion: none, any
  14. Sexual Orientation: none, any, all

I have my insta Goth kit and I'm ready to go. I hope the temporary black dye washes out of my hair!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Halloween Spirit wooooooooooooooooooooooo

I'm going about a painting of a graveyard for All Hallows Eve. OK let me tell you a secret I love to visit graveyards. A graveyard is a quiet place. Graveyards are the silent cities of the dead. They are homes where we continue to visit our loved ones in death, just as we once visited their homes. Some cemeteries are so grand they truly deserve to be called a city of the dead - a necropolis. Wherever I go, I try to capture the voices suspended in marble, the dead remembered by roses. I am attracted to cemeteries always have been. When I was a girl made a picnic lunch and visited the Weston, Idaho Cemetary. My Grandmother taught me to be respectful and not to walk on the graves. She also taught taught me that graves always face East to greet the rising sun. Although I have found that is not always the case.

Another time when I was a teenager my girlfriend Kim and I went to the City Cemetery to drink wine and horse around we were getting loud and disrespectful then something popped the big gulp cup from my hand and drenched me with wine and ice. We both screamed and laughed and got the hell outa there its rude and disrepctful to wake the dead. But I'm sure they will be expecting visitors on All Hallows Eve when the veil is the thinnest.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It's Just Like I A Celebrity or Something WOO-HOO

These were questions from a UAA student doing an article for Alaska Magazine.....

1) List your full name, age, professions, and location.

Judith Abagail Vars, 54 years young, consignee for a self service gas station, Ogden, Utah – Black Jack Dealer, Carson City, Virginia City, Nevada – Assistant to the State Fire Marshal, Carson City, NV – Bar Tender – S.L.C., UT – Car Salesman – Rock Springs, WY, SLC, Alaska – Owner The Cleaning Company, Wasilla, AK – Nurses Assistant – Wasilla, AK

2) What mediums are used in your work?

I use oil paint, and for my mixed media work I use encaustic wax, found objects, ephemera just about anything I can think of. Yesterday I found a flat fork in the road it has possibilities.

3) How often do you show your work in a given year? Where at?

I show my work year round at the Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts G.C.V.A., Palmer Museum once this year, Bagels Alaska in Wasilla, 3 times, The Anchorage Museum of History and Art at the Art Potpourri in the summer and in the gift shop. The Alaska State Fair, the Girdwood Forest Fair, every summer. Killer Designs annual Barbie Show.

4) How many pieces, on average, do you sell a year? Are most of your customers in Alaska? Do you sell any work online? If so, what websites?

On the average I sell about 35 – 50 pieces of art yearly. It seems that half of my customers are from Alaska the rest are tourists and visitors. I sell on e-bay all over the lower 48 states; I have also sold art to people in England, Denmark and Canada. My web site is www.cabinfeverinalaska my e-bay store is Cabin Fever In Alaska.

5) Is it harder to market your artwork in Alaska than if you lived in the Lower 48? Why?

I did not become a professional artist until I moved to Alaska so I have no basis for comparison. My Ravens, Salmon, Loons, Wolves, Birch Trees all sell really well here to locals and tourists. Many times people have bought something and said it will always remind them of their trip to Alaska. On the other hand my assemblages, collages, angels and dark art sell better on-line.

6) Are the summers/tourist seasons used to market your work and the winters used to create? What kind of system do you have to get your art seen the most?

Yes it works out that way Alaska’s winters are the best time to create and in the summer everything happens things get busy.
I took two online course from Alyson Stanfield Art Biz Coach www.artbizcoach.com Setting Up Your Art Business and Shameless Self Promotion. I use that information for getting my art seen and I use it for motivation.

7) Do you have a second profession to counteract slow periods or do you rely solely on your artwork to survive financially? If so, where and what do you do at your second profession?

I wish I didn’t, believe me, but until my art becomes self supporting I must supplement my income. I get very creative I substitute teach, teach art, sell second hand stuff and currently work as a nurses assistant for Hospice.

8) What do you think about the art scene in Alaska? What do you like and dislike? Are First Fridays important to you? Have you participated in any recently, where at?

There is always something artsy fartsy happening plays, lectures, poetry slams, concerts, jazz you name it. I love the art scene in Alaska it’s just a part of our nature that we need to feed. I go to First Friday about 6 times a year. I love to see what others are doing and say HI and talk about art. I had a show at INDIGO and A Novel View for First Friday.

9) From what I have gathered, Alaska is a very creative art community across the entire state. Do you feel the same? Why or why not? Has living in Alaska helped or hurt your career, artwork, creativity?

Yes that seems to be true; Alaska inspires artists all over the state it’s just so awesomely beautiful and wild. I didn’t have an art career until I moved to Alaska, and I have never in my life been so creative is it my age? Or Alaska?

10) How long have you lived in Alaska? Why have you chosen to stay? Would living in a bigger city be better for your art career? Or does being in such a creative community counteract that?

I came to Alaska because I watched too much Northern Exposure now I have lived here almost 11 years (a record for me). I stay because I have found my bliss; I have a family, dogs, warm home on a pristine lake and all the love and support that a person could want.
One of my favorite fantasies is living in a big city New York, Vancouver or Paris and having a huge studio/loft. I’d have patrons in and out spending millions of dollars. Answer, no, I don’t feel living in a big city would be better for my art career.
So Yes a creative community and the friends and connections I have made through art counteract the relative isolation and loneliness that comes with the territory of being an artist epically in Alaska.

Thanks again for helping me out! Your answers will be such a great tool for my article! Also, feel free to add anything else concerning how the art scene in Alaska has influenced your career. Thanks – Natalie Shelton

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Today I Found a Fork in the Road

Hummm there was this flat fork in the road. I noticed it laying there and I picked it up. What could it mean, what could it mean? I think I'll use it in an encaustic wax painting titled The Fork in the Road what else.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday October 8th 8:00 a.m.

Saturday Morning at 8:00 a.m. getting off my graveyard vigil.
A Murder of Ravens" 48"X60" by Judy Vars

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why I Love Ravens or Ode To The Raven

These magnificent ebony birds of your who have been known to croak nevermore. Mr Edgar Allen Poe wrote the famous poem "The Raven" (I paraphrase)
This lonely sad guy was sitting up late pineing for his lost Lenore when the Raven comes rapping, tap, tapping at his chamber door. He opens the door and the Raven dances in and sits on his bust of the Greek God Phallas (the Greek God of wisdom). He askes the Raven did you bring me a message from Lenore and the Raven quoth nevermore. He askes are you a prophet or devil? The Raven just quoths nevermore. Well this just totally freaked the guy out. Ravens like doing things like that.

Some old legends say the Raven created the world. The Hiatta natives have a legend that goes like this: In my words -
Raven was like this high strung ADHD kid always getting into mischief. The Raven got the idea that he would like to create a world. So with his bird feet he tried to make a ball out of mud and other stuff, it kept coming apart. Finally it sort of stayed together and Raven said AW to hell with it and that's the way it stayed. Later the Raven decided to steal tlhe light away from the sky people for his world. So he flew to the sky temple and spied on the sky chiefs daughter while she was bathing. The clever Raven turned himself into a tiny seed and dropped into her drinking water. She grew a big belly and 9 months later gave birth to a peculiar looking child. Nonetheless grandpa the Sky Chief loved and spoiled his grandson he gave into his every whim. One day the child threw a real doozy of a fit nothing grandpa gave him would shut him up. He only wanted to play with the magnificent box where the light was kept. Grandpa finally gave in and gave him the box to play with but as soon as the child had the light he turned back into a Raven and flew away with the ball of light laughing and cawing. The Sky Chief was yelling hey you shitting bird bring back our light! Raven sat the light in the sky and said "Hey this makes the world look pretty good".

I was mounting my new metal raven art I bought from
  • Cindy Shake Design Girdwood Alaska
  • on my sign post for decoration when I felt this fearful feeling on the back of my neck. Then I noticed several Ravens circling me I really don't think they liked the fake Raven.
    Another time I watched a couple of Ravens playing on the wind, they flew straight up and then just fell then went into a barrel roll having a real blast. I shouted "hey crazy Ravens don't you know its freezing out here?". They don't seem to care Ravens and people like me stay and brave the long dark, cold Alaska winters. Thank you Raven for helping me keep my winter vigil and my sanity.

    I like these great black lordy birds strutting about with some strange comical dignity. Once I was at McDonalds parking lot trying to get good picture. Every time I point my camera they scatter and fly away. So I offered some fries and they haughtily refused. They seemed to say we don't accept human charity we'd rather find it or steal it ourselves. You gotta respect that.

    Last spring I saw a whole murder of Ravens at least 100 gathered together talking up a storm and I knew they were preparing to leave for the summer going to higher ground and even more wild places. But I expect their return any day now its always good to see them again.

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    I'm staying up all night and reading..........

    Out of curosity I read the latest work of Anne Rice, Christ the Lord Out of Egypt. First I must confess I loved it the cover was a Fayum portrait. I heard of Anne Rices conversion from Catholicism to agnostic back again to being a Catholic. I found her conversion fascinating since her other books the vampire chronicles scared the hell out of me literally. As usual for Anne Rice her book is historically flawlwss, We are taken to Christs young life with his Mother Mary, Joseph and a pack of other realitives just a big extended Jewish family working trades men and carpenters. Jesus is a young boy 6 to 8 years old and he is both Man and God and understandably a little confused at what mom and dad are not telling him. Read the book if you like Anne Rice and love Jesus. It's a fiction but she brillantly fills in the holes and gives you another perspective of Christ.
    Check it out this site is her official web site and you get to here Avi Maira opera singer.